Chipinge bids farewell to vet­eran ed­u­ca­tion­ist

Leonard Tsidzi­rai Mak­wambeni reached the sun­set of his work life in the Min­istry of Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion on 30 April 2017 and re­cently.

The Manica Post - - Education - Free­dom Mu­tanda Post Cor­re­spon­dent

THE ed­u­ca­tion fra­ter­nity in Chipinge and the Pro­vin­cial Ed­u­ca­tion Direc­torate cel­e­brated his life as a liv­ing leg­end at Chipinge School amid pomp, fan­fare and speechi­fy­ing as hun­dreds thronged the school to get nuggets of wis­dom from the revered ed­u­ca­tion­ist whose con­tri­bu­tion to the field of ed­u­ca­tion is im­mea­sur­able.

His son, Bless­ing, a Pro­fes­sor of Me­dia Stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Western Cape, eu­lo­gised his fa­ther and the path Leonard Mak­wambeni fol­lowed to earn his stripes was fraught with nails.

Mr Mak­wambeni was born in 1952; he at­tended pri­mary school at Maronga and Mwa­cheta Schools be­fore en­rolling at Chikore Sec­ondary School. He was a dili­gent stu­dent who later went to Ku­tama and Bon­dolfi colleges for his teacher ed­u­ca­tion course in 1975. At col­lege, that’s where he met his fu­ture wife, Mrs Rita Mak­wambeni.

“We are six in our fam­ily. Our fa­ther has been and still is a source of in­spi­ra­tion and role model for us,’’ said Bless­ing. Apart from Bless­ing, there are two med­i­cal doc­tors, two teach­ers and a so­cial worker who are counted as Leonard Mak­wambeni’s chil­dren.

Mr Trust Chipongo said the re­tired ed­u­ca­tion in­spec­tor was a son of the soil whose down-to-earth de­meanour was a char­ac­ter worth em­u­lat­ing.

‘’We cel­e­brate his re­mark­able jour­ney whose sig­na­ture tune, Ýebo Dziya’ will re­main em­bla­zoned in our col­lec­tive me­mories for ages to come. One asks one­self: Will I get to this day of re­tire­ment? Dziya was a vi­sion­ary whose col­lab­o­ra­tive na­ture thawed re­la­tions no mat­ter how tense at a school. If the dis­trict lost a stu­dent, teacher, head or any­one in the teach­ing fra­ter­nity, Mr Mak­wambeni would be there. We should pluck a leaf from his lead­er­ship which was ex­em­plary,’’ he said.

Mr Mak­wambeni has es­tab­lished a new school at Checheche.

His col­league, Mrs Lo­car­dia Meda, summed it up by say­ing her col­league was a fa­ther fig­ure at the dis­trict ed­u­ca­tion of­fice.

“The man was at one time the best ed­u­ca­tion in­spec­tor in Man­i­ca­land as he had the high­est num­ber of re­ports on teach­ers, heads and their deputies. We flocked to him for ad­vice and he dis­pensed it with­out fear or favour,’’ she said.

The re­tired ed­u­ca­tion­ist had a flair for the English lan­guage as noted by Mr Dez­man Mwadira, the Chipinge ed­u­ca­tion hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer.

‘’Mr Mak­wambeni is a word­smith. Above all, he is a lov­ing man. We say adios Dziya. We meet to part and we part to meet,’’ con­cluded Mr Mwadira.

Chipinge Dis­trict Schools In­spec­tor, Mr Richard Gabaza, was struck by the hu­mil­ity ex­hib­ited by Mr Mak­wambeni.

“Mr Mak­wambeni was a ded­i­cated man who went be­yond the call of duty. What struck me the most was his be­ing the epit­ome of hu­mil­ity! Not­with­stand­ing the fact that he is much older than me, he took my in­struc­tions with­out ran­cour,’’ he said.

In at­ten­dance at the farewell party were Mr Ed­ward Shumba (Pro­vin­cial Ed­u­ca­tional Di­rec­tor) and his deputy, Mrs Clara Ka­noer­era.

Mr Shumba thanked Mr Mak­wambeni for his loyal ser­vice to the teach­ing pro­fes­sion in spite of the chal­lenges that be­dev­illed the min­istry over the years.

‘‘I am happy that the man had a de­ter­mi­na­tion to be an aca­demic and he learnt at a time the colo­nial gov­ern­ment prac­tised apartheid in ed­u­ca­tion. For one to be ed­u­cated, one had to be in­cred­i­bly in­tel­li­gent and Mr Mak­wambeni is one of those rarely gifted peo­ple. You can see how he read up to mas­ter’s level. He is re­tired but cer­tainly not tired.

“I wish him well in his fu­ture en­deav­ours. Of note is how his wife had stood by him for close to four decades. Ladies, take a leaf from what she has done. Thank you Mrs Mak­wambeni. You are an in­spi­ra­tion to women,’’ Mr Shumba said.

As Mr Mak­wambeni ex­its the for­mal ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, he is the co-founder of an in­fant school at Checheche where he con­tin­ues to touch the chil­dren’s lives but his le­gacy in the ed­u­ca­tion cir­cles will live on.

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